“This is our response to anti-semitism,” said Rabbi Yudi Teichtal, speaking to the American delegation to the Berlin Conference on Anti-Semitism. Rabbi Teichtal, Chabad-Lubavitch representative to this city, was referring to the establishment of a new Jewish Educational Center in Berlin—the first here since the Holocaust.
The American delegation to the conference, which is sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and begins on Wednesday, took time today to participate in a mezuzah-posting on the doors of the new Jewish Educational Center in Berlin.
The event was heavy with a sense of irony and triumph as hundreds of local Jews turned out to witness Jewish rebirth as a fact on the ground in this former hotbed of Nazism. Named the Rohr Chabad & Albam Jewish Educational Center, the beautiful building was established by Rabbi Teichtal and will be a home for the comprehensive Jewish educational and social programs reaching the city’s Jewish population.
Rabbi Teichtal and his wife who have been serving Berlin’s Jewish community for the last seven years, have made dramatic inroads to the quality of Jewish life here since then. Today, more than 1,000 Jewish children in Berlin are enrolled in one of the city’s 10 Jewish schools. Some 3100 mezuzahs were posted on the doors of Jewish homes, and according to Rabbi Teichtal’s count, 100 men are wrapping tefillin daily.
The international media covered the event, as one reporter made the astute observation that “You can either deliberate and speak against anti-semitism, or you can act against it as Chabad-Lubavitch is doing, through the establishment of this center and other such activities.”
At a cocktail reception following the mezuzah-posting, U.S. senators, congressmen, and White House representatives mingled with Jewish philanthropists and organizational leaders who took the opportunity to speak to Rabbi Teichtal and learn firsthand about Chabad-Lubavitch initiatives to enrich the spiritual, social and educational life of Berlin’s Jews.